Cynthia F. Buhr is Of Counsel to the firm. Cynthia assists clients with family formation and dissolution, including parentage establishment, property status agreements, child custody and support, complex asset divisions, committed intimate relationships (unmarried couples), adoption, estate planning, and assisted reproduction technology (ART) matters, with a focus on helping multi-parent, non-traditional and blended families navigate the legal system.

Cynthia has spoken frequently before public and professional groups on LGBTQ+ legal issues and other family law matters and teaches family law as an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law. As a board member of the QLaw Foundation, Cynthia helped establish the QLaw Foundation LGBTQ+ Legal Clinic and Family Matters specialty clinic. Additionally, Cynthia is a graduate of the Washington State Bar Association Leadership Institute and is a Past President and founding board member of the QLaw Association of Washington.

Cynthia joined Skellenger Bender after having practiced family law for over 14 years in King County as a small firm owner. Prior to working in private practice, Cynthia served as a judicial extern for now Supreme Court Justice Mary I. Yu and as a law clerk at the ACLU of Washington. Currently, Cynthia regularly volunteers with the QLaw Foundation Legal Clinic. Cynthia is also a trained collaborative lawyer and mediator and participates in the King County Volunteer Settlement Conference Program.

Memberships & Affiliations:

Washington State Bar Association, Family Law Section and LGBTQ+ Law Section

King County Bar Association, Family Law Section

Greater Seattle Business Association

QLaw Association of Washington

National LGBTA+ Bar Association

Family Law Institute, National LGBTA+ Bar Association

Domestic Relations Attorneys of Washington


Seattle University, J.D., cum laude, 2005

Arizona State University, B.S., magna cum laude, 2000



Recognized as a Washington State “Super Lawyer” from 2020-2023

Elected to Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section Executive Committee 2020-2023

Selected as a Washington Law & Politics/Super Lawyers “Rising Star” from 2010 to 2017

Recognized as QLaw Foundation “Volunteer of the Year” in 2017 and 2021

AVVO Rating of 10/10, an attorney rating website

WSBA Leadership Institute Graduate, 2009

Marketing & Business Editor, Seattle Journal for Social Justice

Seattle University School of Law Public Interest Law Foundation Grant Awardee

“STOP MAKING SENSE!—How I learned to stop worrying and love the UGA (or at least work with it)”, WSBA Family Law Midyear, 2022

“The Demise of RCW 26.10 and the Rise of RCW 11.130: From Third Party Custody to Guardianships”, WSBA Family Law Midyear, 2021

“Second and Third Parent Adoptions”, QLaw Foundation Family Matters Clinic Training for Attorneys and Social Workers, 2019

“Finalizing a Second Parent Adoption Case, Legal Clinic Procedures and Other Forms of Securing Parentage”, QLaw Foundation Securing Parentage CLE: Second Parent Adoptions and More for the LGBTQ+ Community, 2018

“Legal Issues Facing the LGBTQ Community”, PFLAG Bellevue Meeting, ACLU Speaker’s Bureau, 2017

“Family Law and Assisted Reproduction”, QLaw Foundation LGBTQ Legal Clinic CLE, 2017

“Chapter 5 – Family Law”, editor, Judges’ Bench Guide on the LGBTQ Community and the Law, 2017

“Legal Ramifications of Conception”, Conception Options for LGBTQ Families (with Maia Midwifery, Seattle Sperm Bank and Pacific Northwest Fertility), 2017 Panelist

“Practitioner’s Panel”, Seattle University School of Law Solo & Small Firm Class, 2016 Panelist

“LGBTQ Rights Post-Election: Protecting Our Community”, Seattle City Town Hall co-sponsored by QLaw, Legal Voice and many other organizations, 2016

“Legal Ramifications of Conception”, Conception Options for LGBTQ Families (with Maia Midwifery and Seattle Sperm Bank), 2016 Panelist

“Auto-Conversion of Domestic Partnerships to Marriage”, City Hall Panel co-sponsored by QLaw, Legal Voice and many other organizations, 2014

“The Consequences of Windsor: Tax and Estate Planning Strategies”, Century Square, 2013

Guest Lecturer, “Parenting Plans”, University of Washington School of Law Family Law class, 2013

Panelist, “Practitioner’s Panel”, Law Practice Planning and Management Class, Seattle University School of Law, 2013

“Hanging Your Own Shingle”, workshop at Lavender Law hosted by the National LGBT Bar Association in Washington D.C., 2013

“Family Law: An Overview”, QLaw CLE & GLBT Legal Clinic Attorney Training, 2012

“Washington State Domestic Partnership Law and Other Legal Considerations of Gay & Lesbian Servicemembers”, CLE Admission to Practice Rule 8(g) Training Program, 2012

“Domestic Partnership Law”, University of Washington Tacoma, 2011

“Partners Through Time: Using the Law to Support LGBT Relationships”, QLaw GLBT Bar Association of Washington CLE, 2011

“Tax Developments for Washington Same-Sex Couples”, Pride Foundation public event at Seattle Town Hall, 2011

“Recent Changes in Washington Domestic Partnership Law”, KCBA Brown Bag CLE, 2011

Guest Lecturer, “Family Law Practice”, Highline Community College, 2011

“How to Hang a Shingle – A Solo Practice Management Training for Law Students and New Lawyers”, Seattle University School of Law Panel, 2011

“Law & Liberty: Marriage Equality”, ACLU of Washington CLE Series, 2011

“Succession Planning”, author, article in WYLD De Novo, 2011

“The Multiple Impacts of the New Domestic Partnership Act”, Whatcom County Bar Association CLE, 2010

Guest Lecturer, “Washington Domestic Partnerships”, University of Washington Social Work Continuing Education Class, 2010

Guest Lecturer, “Parenting Plans”, University of Washington School of Law Family Law class, 2010

“Washington Domestic Partnerships”, Senior Services (now known as SOUND Generations), 2010

“Family Law”, QLaw Foundation Legal Clinic CLE, 2010

“Lawyer’s Toolbox: Family Law Basics”, WAMBAC 5th Annual Statewide Diversity Conference, 2010

“Estate Planning for Domestic Partners”, BECU Trust Company Public Presentation, 2010

“Domestic Partnerships”, The State of LGBT Rights in Washington, 2009

“Family Law Implications of Domestic Partnerships”, The Past Present & Future of Domestic Partnerships in Washington State, 2009

“Orientation + Family”, Social Sustainability Conference, Out for Sustainability, 2009

“Family Formation and the Washington Law on Domestic Partnerships”, Recent Changes to Washington Law Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 2009

“Legal Clinic Ethics”, LGBT Law form A to Z CLE: Issue Spotting for Pro Se Legal Clinic Clients CLE, QLaw Foundation, 2009

“Domestic Partnerships”, GAAP Recruitment CLE, Family Law Topics, 2009

“Parenting Issues for Same-Sex Couples”, author/editor, public memo for Northwest Women’s Law Center (now known as Legal Voice), 2009

“LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care”, author/editor, Washington State Juvenile Non-Offender Bench Guide, 2009

“Marriage and Families”, author, Your Guide to Turning 18, 2009

“Domestic Partnerships”, Civil Liberties 101: Domestic Partnerships, ACLU of Washington CLE, 2008

“GSA Student Rights”, Somewhere Over the Rainbow Festival at Mount Vernon High School, ACLU Speaker’s Bureau, 2008


Legal Professionals


Skellenger Bender, P.S.

520 Pike Street, Suite 1001
Seattle, WA 98101

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